Posted by: deerharas | November 13, 2008

I didn’t fight the law, and I won.

A couple weeks ago I tried to renew my driver’s license.  My Oklahoma one expired on Halloween, so on the day before, I did a little internet research to find out what all getting a new license entailed.  I called the DMV to ask what sort of ID I needed to bring, and as it turned out I had to have one of the following: 1) Birth Certificate, 2) Passport, or 3) An official sealed high school transcript.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of these in my possession … but really, who DOES have an official high school transcript (sealed, nonetheless) just sitting around?  Anyway, I immediately called my parents to have them send me my birth certificate, a little worried that I wouldn’t have a valid license for a few days.  It turned out that they had “misplaced” it (as they did my shot records a few years ago … another huge inconvenience in terms of enrolling in classes), but would get one to me ASAP.  I will count it to their credit, however; they did just that.  I don’t know how, but I ended up with a new birth certificate in my mail box by Monday.

In the meantime, however, I couldn’t just stop driving.  I had tickets to a concert in the city Saturday night, and I figured I’d be okay.  I hadn’t been stopped yet in Illinois, and for the most part I am a cautious and obedient driver (although Todd may beg to differ … I can hear the fake siren noises now).  Well the concert venue was either in or near (not quite sure what the boundaries are) Wrigleyville, so afterward I told Jayme I’d try to find Wrigley Field since she’s never seen it.  I knew it was somewhere north of where we were, but I wasn’t quite sure which street.  After I’d driven what I was sure was further north than I should have, I gave up, opting for continued directional orientation rather than a risk of getting lost.  I made a right turn and then another to turn south, and then all of the sudden I saw lights.

Yes, on the day after my driver’s license expired, for the first time in the three plus months I’ve lived here, I was getting stopped.  Perfect.

Now I’ve been stopped several times (probably around 10), so I’m no stranger to the protocol.  However, most times it’s been on the highway, which makes it easy to know when and where to pull over.  However, here I now was in a neighborhood with skinny streets and cars parked all along both sides.  I was driving really slow trying to find the best place to pull over … certainly they didn’t think I was trying to get away, but they still had to instruct me over the loud speaker to “STOP THE VEHICLE!”

So I stopped.  It turns out that I turned right on red at an intersection where that was a no-no, although I don’t remember seeing any signs.  The officer was a little confused as to why I was in Illinois, driving a car with Texas plates, with an Oklahoma drivers license … expired at that.  So I talked really fast, explaining that the car was in my parents’ name, I just moved here, and that I really had tried to renew my license two days before.  I even went into the whole “official sealed high school transcript” thing.

Now I mentioned before that I have been pulled over SEVERAL times.  I didn’t mention, however, that I have never gotten a ticket.  I don’t really know what to say except that I’m nice.  And compliant.  I always have my license and insurance all ready for the officer before they approach.  I’ve been given warnings and even told that my car was not a rocket, and therefore I shouldn’t drive it as one, but never once was I issued a ticket.

I figured this time might be different.  An expired license is a big deal, right?  Well, evidently it can be.  After the officer came back from I suppose running me through the computer, the first thing he said was that he “should” lock me up.  LOCK ME UP!  As in, go to jail.  In Chicago.  With my cousin stranded alone with no idea of how to get home.  However, he then followed that little bomb with a quick “Don’t drive,” after which he walked back to his car and drove off in less than 15 seconds.  No arrest, no ticket, no warning and “don’t drive” … wink, wink.

You would think after that little scare, I would have gotten my license the next day (or the day after that considering the next day was Sunday).  However, I’ve put it off for various reasons (the office was closed last Tuesday, I had a research paper due Thursday, etc), but today was the day!  I picked out my new drivers license outfit, carefully applied drivers license makeup and headed over this afternoon.  When I switched my license over from Texas to Oklahoma, it was somewhat of a hassle, but I didn’t have to take any sort of test.  However, there does happen to be a test for new Illinois residents.  They gave me a book to study until they called my name, which surprisingly didn’t take very long.  I had only gotten through a couple of chapters … and NOT the one including the traffic signs.  Anyway, I took my written test (which I haven’t had to do since Drivers Ed eleven years ago!!!) and did my best to make good guesses when I wasn’t sure.  As I stood in front of my test grader, I asked her how many I could miss and still pass.  Seven.  I missed six.  Drivers beware.  Nevertheless, I am now an officially licensed Illinois driver with a decent picture to boot.

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